Rhesus glycoprotein and urea transporter genes are expressed in early stages of development of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Carrie C. Hung, C. Michele Nawata, Chris M. Wood, Patricia A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine if the genes for the putative ammonia transporters, Rhesus glycoproteins (Rh) and the facilitated urea transporter (UT) were expressed during early development of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss Walbaum. We predicted that the Rh isoforms Rhbg, Rhcg1 and Rhcg2 would be expressed shortly after fertilization but UT expression would be delayed based on the ontogenic pattern of nitrogen excretion. Embryos were collected 3, 14 and 21 days postfertilization (dpf), whereas yolk sac larvae were sampled at 31 dpf and juveniles at 60 dpf (complete yolk absorption). mRNA levels were quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and expressed relative to the control gene, elongation factor 1α. All four genes (Rhbg, Rhcg1, Rhcg2, UT) were detected before hatching (25-30 dpf). As predicted, the mRNA levels of the Rh genes, especially Rhcg2, were relatively high early in embryonic development (14 and 21 dpf), but UT mRNA levels remained low until after hatching (31 and 60 dpf). These findings are consistent with the pattern of nitrogen excretion in early stages of trout development. We propose that early expression of Rh genes is critical for the elimination of potentially toxic ammonia from the encapsulated embryo, whereas retention of the comparatively benign urea molecule until after hatch is less problematic for developing tissues and organ systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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